United Food Operation kicks off 40th annual drive

INSTITUTE, W.Va.United Food Operation, Inc. (UFO) has kicked off its 40th annual drive to collect food for the Kanawha Valley.

Officials with UFO and those community volunteers in Kanawha and Putnam counties gathered at the UFO warehouse in Institute on Friday to kick off the event and then load food into pantry trucks.

UFO Chair Elaine Harris told MetroNews flagship 580-WCHS in Charleston the non-profit is having to operate differently this year with COVID-19 but they continue to work.

“We have to make it work because we have pantries that really rely on this food,” she said.

Harris said each year UFO is able to help area pantries feed more than 30,000 West Virginians and she expects nothing less in 2022. The drive kicked off Friday lasts 12 weeks to help to 12 independent food pantries around the Kanawha Valley.

She said by Monday morning, the first round of food will be at the food pantries and ready to be distributed.

“Each year when our volunteers make the food order or things that are donated by groups, we order what is needed based on what they are telling they are seeing a demand for,” Harris said.

Harris encouraged the public to donate and to visit unitedfoodoperation.org for details.

Elaine Harris speaks during the kickoff event on Friday.